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  1. I had a “charge without card present” notification pop up on my phone from AMEX for $470 from Royal and at first I thought “what the hell is this”? LOL ….. Then I noticed I had an email and saw we won our upgrade bid to go from a Grand Suite to a Crown Loft Suite. I was a little worried it may be a crappy location, but no …… it’s # 1720 …… so happy!!!! I really didn’t think we’d get it for only $470 total. Can’t wait for Saturday even more now!!
    24 points
  2. twangster

    Rough Seas

    1 - Sleep well 2- Sleep better 3 - Sleep really well 4 - Where is everyone? Why is the bar half empty? 5 - Yeehaw! This is fun!
    23 points
  3. Matt

    Be like Chris Wong!

    Congrats to our friend @CHRIS WONG on being featured!
    22 points
  4. From Allure of the Seas, October 2021. The offers are typically consistent across the fleet. Current offers implement temporary changes for pandemic protocols. Offers are subject to change as protocols evolve. Gold Platinum Emerald Diamond Diamond Plus Pinnacle Youth
    22 points
  5. KLA

    Royal Up offers

    It was JUST accepted. We sail in two days. Junior Suite from OV balcony GTY!!!!
    22 points
  6. Matt

    Airline walkouts?!?!

    Yes, the pilots said so via the union. Sorry if that doesn't jive with your personal opinion, but it's the truth. Not sure who else needs to say the same thing before you believe it. And since this thread has gone down the covid conspiracy path, it's now locked. Keep the political discussions and opinions out of this site. Thank you.
    21 points
  7. 19 points
  8. I didn’t want to start my blog early, or really mention the cruise at all to anyone for fear something would go wrong. But HERE WE ARE! ON A SHIP! I can hardly believe it! A Panama Canal transit has been on my bucket list forever. Once cruising started up again this summer I was feeling some severe FOMO with the live blogs trickling in. Looking at what was available I suddenly noticed a Radiance repositioning through the Panama Canal. What? Had I just missed this, or was it a new offering? There were even suites available which shocked me — those sell out fast on rare trips like this. I emailed the incomparable @Sharla on July 30th and snagged a GS. It was a 14-day Canal transit, leaving from Los Angeles, with stops in Ensenada, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, San Juan del Sur, Puntarenas, Cartagena, and ending in Miami. Woohoo!! And then, 4 days later, it canceled. Noooooooo! One big drawback to reading this blog obsessively is that I knew right away my trip was done. If I had been blithely going about my daily life, the first I would have known is when Sharla emailed about the switch to Serenade and I would have been spared some grey hairs. As it was, I’m pretty sure it went something like this: Me: SharlaSharlaSharlaSharla!! My shiny new cruise is canceled. Waaaaaaaaah! Is the world ending? I feel like it’s ending! Sharla: Um, what? Calm down, let’s see what’s going on. Me: <Breathing into a paper bag> OK, I’ll try… The next day came the switch to Serenade confirmation, and the itinerary came shortly after that. Now we had a 13-day trip (slight price break), with stops in Puerto Vallarta, San Juan del Sur, Puntarenas, and Cartagena. So we lost 1 day and two ports. Oh well. This trip is about the Canal. And vacation. And cruising again finally! Then 9 days before sailing, San Juan del Sur was canceled and replaced with a sea day. Bummer, for a number of reasons I’ll talk about later. Now this really feels like a repositioning cruise, with only three ports in 13 days! But I don’t care one bit! I’m sitting in my cabin waiting for sail away, with dinner at Giovanni’s up tonight and a massage tomorrow morning. More to come! What’s that? Oh, right, the blog title. About that… I was trying to come up with something catchy. Maybe something musical, because Serenade. Or iconic, because bucket list trip. Or memorable, so everyone will want to read. I also assumed that the flight to LAX would be a good time for brainstorming. Seems logical, right? Well the tiny human sitting behind me on the first flight had other ideas. He spent taxi and takeoff kicking my seat (yay.) and then his mother got out a tablet for his entertainment. Which would have been fine, except there were no headphones for him to use. And I think the tablet only had one volume level, which was nowhere near whisper. What did he listen to? That’s right, the catchy, iconic, musical, memorable ditty, “Head, shoulders, knees and toes”. It earwormed it’s way right into my brain, and so I share it with you. You’re welcome.
    19 points
  9. Later I saw the clouds break and found the Milky Way in the sky. Hours after sunset it's amazing how much the sun is revealed in a long exposure picture.
    19 points
  10. Since borders are opening up and vaccines requirements easing I thought I'd share my experience on Allure of the Seas getting tested for travel to Canada after the cruise. In my case my booking appears to be a standard one cruise (no B2B) US booking. This means that testing for me normally wouldn't be required. I had communicated with the guest services team before boarding given my unique scenario of not appearing to need a test yet actually requiring a PCR test for travel to Canada. I knew that guests that are known to require a test would receive a QR code and instructions sent to their cabins. Since that didn't apply to me I waited until day 3 and visited guest services where they produced a QR code for me to use. I've obfuscated the QR code in the photo below since I don't know that it is the same for each ship and sail date so don't try to scan this code with your device. When using an iPhone the camera recognizes the QR code and pops up a link to follow based on the QR code. You have to be connected to the ship's wifi but you do not need to purchase a Voom internet plan to use the QR code. The link from the QR code opened in my phone's browser. Scrolling to the bottom there is a button you can tap to proceed. This opens a new page where you enter your details. For the purpose of this demonstration I chose a fictitious address in Manitoba. The next step looks for the closest location. Since this was on a sea day I was very curious what it would offer for locations near me. Picking another random address in Canada very far from the Caribbean where I was at the time it found the Deck 3 Conference Center some 3,337 miles from Whitehorse. For the purpose of setting the location of the ship they had given the Deck 3 Conference Center the address of the terminal in Port Canaveral where I boarded the ship. After selecting the only option presented, the Deck 3 Conference Center, I was able to select a time for my appointment. In my case I had been told that normally PCR testing for international travel is done at 6:30am and the antigen testing for other guests required for other purposes such as consecutive cruisers would occur later after the PCR testing. Surprised to see the 8am time being the earliest time offered guest services assured me they would look into it and let me know. They did follow up with me and the next day I received a call on my cabin phone to let me know they have adapted the process so that all testing starts at 8am, at least on this voyage. I do have a Voom internet plan on this sailing so I was able to receive the email confirmation for the test once I had completed the scheduling steps above. This isn't a requirement. I was never asked for the confirmation code. It is not required to have a Voom plan but it was comforting to see the process work very similar to how pre-cruise testing appointments have worked for me in the past on land. I am an early riser by nature so on the morning of day 7 I dropped by the deck 3 conference center at 6:30am just to make sure I was good with my 8am appointment. At 6:30am there was no one around so I breathed a sigh of relief that the process was working as guest services said it would. At 8am there were crew on hand at a kiosk with paperwork ready for the guests that needed to be tested. They asked for my cabin number and handed me a paper with stickers attached. The stickers had a barcode, my name and birth date. On this occasion consecutive cruisers or anyone needing an antigen test were directed into the conference to the right while guests requiring PCR testing for international travel where directed into the conference center to the left. I didn't take any pictures because there were other guests present including children. There are several testing stations and I was directed to take a seat in the section for Accula testing. Accula is an approved FDA test with an emergency use authorization. I handed over my paperwork and watched as they applied one of the stickers to a vial that would later contain my sample. When instructed I removed my mask and tilted my head back. The lab worker ran a swab around the ring of each nostril without going deep. If anything it tickled slightly but was in no way painful or difficult to sit through. With that I was done and directed to exit. After testing I went to breakfast and carried on with my day. It was a very easy and straightforward process. As I await my results my only advice for anyone from any country that requires a PCR test onboard is to keep an eye out for the testing letter with QR code and instructions. If you don't receive it by day 3 call guest services or drop by and ask them.
    18 points
  11. They fixed the website AND the app. No more IT errors. Nah. That would be bigger than news of a lifetime.
    18 points
  12. Are we really going on a cruise??? It won't settle in for us until we actually step onto the ship tomorrow morning! It's been almost 2.5 years since our last cruise (Allure, 5/19/19)! Wow, that almost sounded like a confession, LOL! Like so many of you, we dealt with cancellation after cancellation due to this horrible pandemic... Harmony... Symphony... Oasis (x3)... I guess the 3rd time is the charm for Oasis! Unlike my first/last blog, I wanted to start before we boarded! My wife and I could not pass up the chance to sail on the amped Oasis out of Cape Liberty. We absolutely LOVED Allure and are sold on the Oasis class! This will be our 3rd sailing out of Bayonne - Explorer (2013) and Liberty (2015). This cruise will also be different, and special, as it will be the first time my wife and I have sailed alone since our 3-night teaser cruise on the Disney Wonder during our honeymoon 17 years ago! We're also planning on relaxing a bit more as the itinerary is not as port-intensive and we are planning on staying onboard in Port Canaveral. Covid testing: We had originally booked a PCR test with CVS for yesterday morning (24-48 hour turnaround), but we decided the stress of waiting for the results today would be too much to handle! Instead, we went to a local urgent care facility (City MD) and had the rapid antigen test. Results were e-mailed to us within 2 hours and thankfully we were both negative! OK... enough yapping... here is the brief synopsis... Cruise Details: Oasis of the Seas, 7-night, Perfect Day & Bahamas (Port Canaveral, CocoCay & Nassau) Out of Cape Liberty (Bayonne, NJ) 10/3/21-10/10/21 Cabin Details & Cruise Planner Stuff: Ocean View with Large Balcony (Deck 8, Mid-Ship, Starboard side... across from Giovanni's Table) Selected Traditional Dining (5:30PM) Purchased the Deluxe Beverage w/ VOOM Package Purchased the 3 Night Dining Package Purchased the Full Day Pass to Coco Beach Club (CocoCay) Purchased the Blue Lagoon Island Dolphin Encounter and Beach Day (Nassau) Miscellaneous Stuff: We're located in Suffolk County, NY (middle of Long Island), so we're just 70 miles or so from the port. We're driving to the port, and for the convenience as in the past, will be parking in the port garage for the week. The cost is currently $25/day (incl tax), but effective 10/15/21, they are raising it to $30/day. Still trying to decide when to leave... should take about 1.5 - 2 hours to get there... probably leaving earlier and will wait in the garage if need be just in case there is traffic or an accident on the way! Our first time on Oasis and our first time to CocoCay post renovations! We chose the cabin location in part based on a comment @WAAAYTOOO made some time ago on the forum (Thank You!). Since we are on the same deck as Central Park and mid-ship, there are no cabins on the other side of our corridor, just the back of the restaurants (Giovanni's for us). Should be very quiet! We love Central Park and the convenience of being close to the Trellis Bar and all of the specialty dining options! We originally purchased the Key, but Royal cancelled it for our sailing. We're OK with the cancellation... sailing at reduced capacity will lessen the overall value of the Key IMO. *** Please let me know if you have any questions or would like me to post pictures of something you are interested in... I'll do my best to keep up! OK, time to finish packing! We also have to drop our Goldens (Bella & Jake) off later at my sister's house for the week! Don't tell them we're going away without them!
    17 points
  13. I dreamed last night that Royal Caribbean started selling FCCs- like a gift card, but it was restrictive like a normal FCC (can't be used for taxes, gratuities, etc, and must be by Dec 2022). All of my clients thought this was the world's best idea and I kept trying to talk everyone out of it! And then, of course, none of the FCCs worked. I can't escape it all even in my sleep
    17 points
  14. I think you meant to say "drink some wine"
    17 points
  15. Almond butter for those with allergies. Disclosure: I profit from almond butter sales.
    17 points
  16. On the Oct. 8, 2021 sailing we have 3,300 guests on board so the WJ is open for dinner!
    16 points
  17. I wonder how much trouble I would get in if I leaked the news here first...
    16 points
  18. Amazing. I'm at home ironing and you have already finished eating at Sabor. Maybe Star Class is better than Twangster Class.
    16 points
  19. JAB

    Just back from Allure

    We are currently sitting in the Orlando Airport waiting for our flight home. This was our second time on Allure, and she did not disappoint! We choose an Ocean View Balcony guarantee and were assigned room 10726. It was the next to the last balcony cabin at the aft. We were pleased with the cabin, and especially pleased with Sam, our wonderful stateroom attendant! The crew were friendlier than ever and we found the ship to be very clean. The Windjammer food was excellent and I did not mind being served the food at all (especially after seeing a man walk out of the bathroom stall and out of the bathroom without washing his hands). Wearing the mask inside was not an issue and most guests, and all crew, were wearing them properly. We did two specialty restaurants on this cruise, Chops Grill and Giovanni's. Both were excellent, my wife preferred Chops, and I preferred Giovanni's. This trip included our first visit to Coco Cay, but it certainly won't be the last! What a fun time! I envied those staying on board for a back to back. I'm hoping that we will be able to do that in the future!
    15 points
  20. He is writing a book, a compilation of all his dad jokes.
    15 points
  21. Day 10 - Panama Canal Wow. I love it when something you’ve built up in your head delivers in real life! The weather was a bit variable — thunderstorms, sun, on repeat, but it didn’t matter at all. Panama City in the distance: We approached the Miraflores locks at about 7am, after passing under the Bridge of the Americas. One of 6 mules that guided us through each section: Pretty sure this guy was some sort of supervisor : The entrance to the new locks on the Miraflores side. Hard to show, but that giant ship is already about 35 feet above sea level. Once past Miraflores, we had a stretch of more natural feeling waterway on our way to the last lock before Lake Gatun: One of the many tugs that shepherded the various ships: A closer look at workings of one of the locks: We had a couple of rain showers while we were in Lake Gatun so the photos weren’t stellar. Finally we came to the Gatun locks and the Atlantic Bridge: We reached the Caribbean about 4pm, so the whole transit took approximately 9 hours. The captain said that was about as fast as it is ever done. What an amazing day!
    15 points
  22. Day 7 - At Sea We should have been in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua today. I’m disappointed this stop was canceled! Nicaragua is a newer addition to the cruise ship routes, so not many have had the opportunity to stop here. The country is also very poor (eclipsed only by Haiti in the region) and could very much use the tourism dollars. Fortunately for you all, we live in Nicaragua right now so you’re going to get my Virtual Shore Excursion photos! San Juan del Sur (SJDS) is a small town very popular with the surf crowd. Serenade (or pretty much any cruise ship) would have tendered in, but the wide bay is very smooth and the process would have been painless. Walking distance from drop off are a number of great restaurants situated right on the beach, including this fun one: Towering over SJDS on a hill north of town is Nicaragua’s answer to the Cristo Redentor: Lots of small resorts up the lovely coast from SJDS, where you can rent a hammock or a shade for the day, and take a ride on the beach. A number of the shore excursions (or private tours) from SJDS will take you to Granada, a picturesque colonial town about 45 minutes inland. Spanish churches and colorful houses, with lots of artisans and restaurants. Adjacent to Granada is Mombacho Volcano. There is zip lining, hiking, and a working coffee plantation on the slopes of the mountain. A bit further inland is the town of Masaya, which has lovely lake and a volcano of its own. (Those are not clouds. Masaya is a very active volcano and you can sometimes see the lava in the caldera at night!) Nicaragua is a beautiful country and the people are welcoming and warm. If you get a chance to visit, take it!
    15 points
  23. I just stumbled upon this scratch off poster on amazon.... thought it was really cool, so thought i would share... fun gift idea for an RC fanatic ... https://www.amazon.com/Royal-Caribbean-Scratch-Off-Poster/dp/B08ZK9GP2Z/ref=sr_1_209_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=cruise+accessories&qid=1634500680&sr=8-209-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzU1g3WjZQMllEQjZUJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMjU1OTA5MU45SEczMEZPWU05MCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwODcxNzIxMTRBT05ET0RWVlpaRyZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX210ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=
    14 points
  24. fishernrex

    Royal Up offers

    Over the moon excited! Upgrade accepted to the Grand Loft Suite!!
    14 points
  25. Big Red

    Royal Up offers

    Boom! It I done! Officially got our upgrade! Today at 3pm EST. Right after my post above. Sorry I didn't want to go into details about my bid, room, and ship until we got the upgrade(as only one room was available online during bidding) Went from Ocean View Balcony to Grand Suite on a 7-Day cruise on Allure leaving this Sunday! We have a total of around $3,500 invested for a GS balcony for two people(price includes the original purchase price, and the bid offered($1,250 per person/ $2,500 total bid)! Way cheaper than what we would have done if we would have just booked the suite room to begin with! Plus we can now eat at costal kitchen, and I can get rid of our internet package(sad no extra Cruise points for suite room but oh well)!! Super stoked as me and the wife have been waiting all pandemic like most everyone to get back out and start cruising again! Cant wait till our next cruise now for January! Hope my additions helps folks that read this post/blog!! Royal Up works! Also in closing, I think it is an extremely good sign when bidding, that if you have one of the bids pending, you will typically get the upgrade!
    14 points
  26. Matt

    I dreamed last night...

    I've had dreams like that too... ...but then I remembered I had an MEI travel agent to handle those kind of problems! Hope you sleep better tonight @Sharla!
    14 points
  27. I picture a TV commercial featuring Bubba Gump... There's, uh, almond butter, almond milk, Almond Joy, almond extract, Jordan almonds, almond flour, almond oil, almond paste, marzipan, almond cream..."
    14 points
  28. 13 points
  29. Last week at this time we were somewhere in the middle of the ocean. Now I'm back at my desk and keyboard counting the days until the next trip (47 days on MSC's Meraviglia). Thought I would share a couple of thoughts from the trip. From the time we got to the luggage attendants at the port, we didn't stop walking until we were on Desk 8 for a stop at the Trellis Bar. Very smooth boarding process. Be prepared to show your vaccine card, ID and boarding pass (I used the phone app) several times. I can understand why there's really no need for priority boarding any more even if you are in the suite level. Rooms were available early - around 1:15. Luggage showed up some time in the afternoon but well before dinner. We Royaled up to a Crown Loft Suite on the 17th floor overlooking the Boardwalk. I would do the suite again but would prefer a port or starboard view. The crew on 17 was incredible and made Cheryl feel very special for her birthday cruise. However the RoyalUp process is buggy - Our records were still attached to the old room. The letters we had in the new room were for someone else. For the first half of the cruise every time we gave our room number to someone, they greeted us with someone else's name. Expectations for Sky level were much higher than what reality ended up being. Videos here and on other sites talked about some upgraded shampoos and other bathroom amenities. That didn't happen. We were expecting priority reservations for some of the shows. That didn't happen - though with 2400 passengers on board, it wasn't an issue. We were expecting concierge to help with reservations at some of the speciality restaurants. That happened but was a much more complicated process than it should have been. The Concierge was very helpful and making the best out of a Covid cruise, but things were off. For Dinner, we ate at Coastal Kitchen, Chops, Giovanni's Table, 150 Central Park and the Main Dining Room. Each was a great meal. Of all I think Giovanni's was the best. On our next cruise, I think we'll go a bit lighter on dinner choices. Great food but 7 nights of 3 courses (plus extras) was more food than we needed. So maybe two specialty, MDR and pizza or hot dogs a couple of nights. Mama Mia was the show in the main theater and was broadway quality. The seats were very comfortable and maybe reclined a little to much and I had to fight from wanting to take a nap. The Ice show was fun. Very talented skaters but the show it self was disjointed. The "roll the dice" Segways between scenes lasted too long (over a minute once). The way they divided up the seating because of Covid for the Aqua show was a bit confusing but the show was incredible with several OMG how does she not fall? moments. We had fun hiding ducks around the ship. At first we thought "why are we doing this silly thing" but one time, quite by accident we sat by the trellis bar after hiding a few and were able to watch the reactions of the kids (and kids at heart) find them and watched their reactions. We'll do that again. We knew it before going on board, but the Suite deck was just a deck. No pool. Walked up there once. Didn't use it. The main pools were much more enticing. We got the drink package because it was $58/person/day and that worked out to our benefit. Wouldn't do it again if it was over $90. We got the 100 picture package and only had 60 pictures taken so that was over kill. We got the Coco Beach Club package for about $80/person. It was a great place. We were one of the first ones there and almost last to leave. Didn't see anything else of the island on this trip so next time we may skip that just so we can see the other parts of the island. But well worth it and would do it again (not for $160/person though). There are so many things we didn't get to do on the ship that it warrants another Oasis class trip for sure (which will be Harmony next October). The staff was one of the best parts of the cruise. Looking forward to seeing them again. Steve & Cheryl
    13 points
  30. Lunch has arrived! One could get used to this. Lobster and filet on a floating cabana in the Caribbean. Two ships here and doesn’t seem crowded with the low passenger loads. I walked the island taking pictures. It’s such a beautiful place. Plenty of room on the cabana for 10 1/2 of us. Actually 11 1/2 - Jack Daniels showed up a bit ago.
    13 points
  31. Last sale before my Symphony! Momma needs a cabana baby!
    13 points
  32. Quick update. 12 days to go. i’m following a report of someone sailing this week and posting on another site. Mama Mia is scheduled for Friday and Saturday this week. Other shows and activities seem normal according to him. Seems the Cruise Director left kind of unexpectedly last Sunday and a new one is in place. We’ll just keep our fingers crossed and continue to countdown! Here’s the greatest thing so far: someone asked on a FB group if anyone was going to be on the Allure in the next few weeks. I responded that I would be aboard on the 17th. He then asked if I’d be willing to purchase some tuna pouches and Ben’s rice and take it to Romeo at the Champagne bar. Seems Romeo had taken great care of this couple and had also indicated that he missed his tuna and Ben’s rice!. So of course I will now be shopping for those items before we leave. I explained to the gentleman that as I get older the “firsts” in my life come less often. But this was a first! A total stranger asked me to buy some tuna, cart it about 3000 miles and then give it to another guy I don’t know and haven’t met. I’m all in! The tuna caper. It shall be blogged!
    13 points
  33. I never imagined I would get involved in the Filet Wars, and yet here I am… I have had filet in the MDR, Chops, Giovanni’s, and Asia’s equivalent of CK, the Golden Dining room, on a variety of ships. The best filet is at Chef’s Table on Serenade. Fight me. This was our first time trying Chef’s Table. Current protocols limit the attendance to 8; we had 6. We were inadvertently smart, booking it on a night before a sea day — I think I would not have enjoyed a morning shore excursion very much The aperitif, some sort of bubbly Elderflower mint concoction: Scallop Carpaccio: Smoked Tomato Soup, pre and post combination. It also required stirring to blend all the ingredients, so I’m going to say that I assisted in the preparation of this excellent soup! And then, unfortunately, came the third glass of wine. Only unfortunate for you, Gentle Readers — I failed to take pictures of the next two courses Both the Maine Lobster Salad and the Roasted Branzino were delicious and I apologize for my shortcomings as a blogger! Then, the filet. Could not have been better! I ate the whole thing even though I was stuffed already! There was some sauce added after the photo was taken. The dessert was The World. Very, very rich! It came with an espresso martini. I was very pleased with the whole experience. We had fun companions, a good waiter, and a charismatic chef. One couple had eaten at Chef’s Table a dozen or so times and said that it was always just a bit different as each chef put their own mark on it. Kenneth redeemed himself tonight:
    13 points
  34. So we are back from our short jaunt to Nassau and Perfect Day. A fun four day break we have been looking forward to for some time. There have been several questions about the Covid protocols so I thought I would answer them all in one posting. First, as we were going to the Bahamas, the Bahamian Government has mandated all visitors MUST prove their full vaccinations. Not a problem for us, Sheryl and I had our second shots at the end or April. Next requirement was for us to test negative for Covid. Also not so much of a challenge. 2 days prior to boarding, we each used a proctored online antigen test. (we used the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Test) The results were negative as expected. In fairness, all crew are vaccinated and it is my understanding they are all subject to antigen testing regularly. At the terminal, we arrived at our appointed boarding time and our documents were checked, passports, Boarding Documents, Covid Vaccine Cards, and proof of negative antigen test all checked at the door of the terminal. Once through the initial check, we were directed up the escalators to the next point where we were again validated, and this time subject to health screen, including temperature checks. Following that, we were adorned with wristbands (do not remove) which proved to all around us we were vaccinated and negative. All good, now to security. There was a little concern when they scanned my back pack and saw the magnets there, but it was easily resolved with a quick look. Thank you to the security staff for their vigiliance by the way. Their job is to stop anything nasty getting on the ship. As we boarded Freedom of the Seas, we were once more security screened and all was good. Thereafter we were directed to our emergency muster station for our safety briefing. Then wayhay, we could enjoy. All out door spaces were mask free, and inside the ship, general areas like passageways, the promenade and such were mask mandatory. There were however, mask free zones for the fully vaccinated. Honestly, it was no hardship, I think we have all become accustomed to wearing masks as it is. However, the opportunity to be mask free out doors and in specific areas was more than welcome. There were some changes since our last cruise. For example, at the buffet, it was not self service, staff behind the counters piled the plates on request. Additionally, in the WindJammer Buffet, tables were well segregated, every other table was marked as unavailable, the remainder were open, and in my field of view when they were cleared, they were totally sanitized including seating and table edges. There were far more hand sanitizing stations than ever before, and prior to entering any part of the ship, such as shops, bars, theatre or restaurants, we were asked to use them. I have always been pleased with how Royal Caribbean ships are so sparkling clean, the crew really do take pride in their ships. But on this trip, Freedom OTS was gleaming like never before. More than that, any surface that had public contact was sanitized heavens knows how many times per day. Even when we used the hot tub, when we got out, a crewmember was spraying down and sanitizing the hand rails we touched. We have cruised onboard Freedom before, (2017) and love the ship herself, but we have to give kudos to RCCL in general, and the ships company in particular, for ensuring she wasnt only looking her best, but was amazingly clean and sanitized.
    13 points
  35. Day 2 - At Sea I do enjoy the sea days. We’ll see if I still feel that way after essentially 10 days at sea on this trip I am planning to document a lot of the ship, as a bit of a marketing for these “smaller” ships. I really enjoy them and think they get overlooked by a lot of people. The Centrum from Deck 6: The Centrum from Deck 10: Entrance to the Schooner Bar. I like the old school nautical theme: Adjacent to the Schooner Bar is both Chops and Giovanni’s, and they have similar decor: Safari Club (past the Schooner Bar. Also has Next Cruise and the Loyalty Desk): Great views and comfortable seats: Self-leveling pool tables!
    13 points
  36. FYI… I’m J, her 15 year old. I will also be posting updates.
    13 points
  37. IIf it was just one drink out of many I wouldn't even take note of it. But that's just me.
    12 points
  38. Today I sent some photos of the room to a friend who hasn’t seen it. In case there’s anyone here who hasn’t seen it (which I doubt) here is Suite 1740. No pictures of the downstairs bedroom as Taylor was sleeping off a little motion of ocean feeling.
    12 points
  39. Last night after all my diamond drinks had been consumed I approached a bar, put down my card along with a cash tip and asked for two bottles of water. Bartender didn't swipe my card, just handed me two bottles of water. Treat your bartenders right and they'll reciprocate.
    12 points
  40. Matt

    Changes with The Key Program

    In my experience, I doubt it would help. I'm just happy to have questions about things like The Key instead of "will my cruise actually sail?" lol
    12 points
  41. -No more masking or pre cruise testing. -You're now able to (and encouraged to) push chair hogs into the pool -Lobster night will now have actual lobsters served instead of oversized crawfish -Bridge tours will allow passengers to drive the ship -They're introducing new technology where a day on a cruise ship lasts 48 hours instead of 24.
    12 points
  42. Well, I’m sad to say two things: 1. We are off the ship and in the car headed home. 2. I failed miserably at live blogging This week has been INCREDIBLE! If you’re booked in Star Class (or even just on the Oasis) and you’re reading this because you’re excited about your upcoming sailing, I am here to tell you, you’re going to have the TIME OF YOUR LIFE! If my excited ramblings are too long to read, please let that be your takeaway from reading our experience. ***** Alright, so I left off on embarkation day where the amazing Genie Shane escorted us onto the ship and directly to our suite (two hours before the cabins were supposed to open! ️) We entered the Loft Suites section on deck 17 and walked down the widest cruise hallway I’ve ever seen. At the end of the hall, right in the corner… there was our door! 1720!!! Shane and his team had decorated our door for us! We walked inside to embarkation day surprises! Anniversary decorations and a custom cake! Plus flowers in a vase and a beautiful card from Shane to celebrate the 6th wedding anniversary we missed during quarantine. I will give you fair warning that I have read from other fabulous star class experts on this forum that 1718’s upstairs is bigger, but there is no comparison for how amazing 1720’s living room and balcony are! This view of the ship from the bedroom is amazing! I didn’t realize there was another window right next to the bed. At sea, you get a gorgeous view of the wake And now, for this balcony! It was cloudy and drizzling when we arrived in Cape Liberty, so I’m mixing in some debarkation photos as well so you can see the gorgeous view from all sides. I loved that there were two doors to get out to the balcony as well. The standard sliding balcony doors were perfect for entertaining and moving in and out during the day. But I loved the single door directly under the bedroom behind the dining table for a quick shortcut onto the balcony in the morning. I also think you’ll get some cool photos if you’re having a party on the balcony by standing inside the bedroom and looking down from the window. I hope our few snapshots help you visualize the setup for 1720, since I mostly only found 1718 online. I’ll be back in a bit to up on the rest of the cruise shortly. It’s my turn to drive
    12 points
  43. Has anyone toggled from one cruise to another on the app with spotty/slow network connection? The developers put some fun messages that scroll through while the connection tries to make the switch. The last one even acknowledges how long it is taking before it starts the messages over. (Found this out in my dead zone office building when wi-fi was disconnected)
    12 points
  44. GKMCruising

    Rough Seas

    If you ever need a benchmark for how rough the seas are - rank it on a scale of 1 to 5. One - smooth sailing Two - a little choppy Three - "Oh look, they put out the seasick bags!" Four - The pools look like the below pictures... Five - "Are we sure he steered around that hurricane?"
    12 points
  45. Richard Fain said since restart half a million guests and only had one hundred and forty one cases. That's the protocols working extremely well, especially when you consider how much it has spread on land.
    12 points
  46. AshleyDillo

    Keepsakes

    Credit card bills ???
    12 points
  47. twangster

    Traveling solo

    As a former business traveler I took many business trips solo. I chose not to eat my meals in a drive through so I just got comfortable eating by myself in regular and nicer restaurants. I basically told myself cruising solo is like a business trip solo. With that established I booked my first cruise solo and haven’t looked back. Tips? We are all different so that’s tough. I have zero hesitation eating solo in specialty dining or the MDR when cruising solo. I generally find most waitstaff accelerate service when solo which I appreciate so I can move on to another activity. Pre-pandemic solo was great for scoring seats last minute in theaters because there is often a single seat available in prime locations. What I love about cruising solo is that everyone is in a good mood and it’s generally easy to strike up a conversation in a bar. So I can escape when I feel like it and just sit in a corner of the ship by myself or I can sit at the bar and engage with others when I want to.
    11 points
  48. We have had phenomenal seas so far. Seriously like glass: And some lovely sunrises: One of my very favorite things is the days being noted on the elevators. I hope this tradition never goes away! A great thing about Radiance-class ships is all the glass. Here is Vintages: And here is the view from Vintages seating: (Window could be cleaner. Sorry.) Day 3 ended with Main Dining room delivery to our balcony again. Chicken Parmesan and Braised Beef Ribs: No towel art tonight. Kenneth is in big trouble!
    11 points
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